So today was the first day of the meetings, the only day that we're actually attending, as tomorrow's half day session doesn't really relate to us and our respective flights leave early in the afternoon.
Some worthwhile business was discussed, I think, though a lot of what was talked about was well beyond my purview.
(Let me just say that the campus of the company we were meeting with is freaking huge. I'd IMed Scott to tell him about how big the place was and he asked if it was "Segway big." I had to laugh, as just minutes earlier I'd seen a security guard tooling around on a Segway.)
What was most interesting about it was actually meeting some of the people I've been working with for months via phone and e-mail for the first time. One of them looked pretty much exactly how I pictured her. One of the other people I had no real mental picture of, but when I saw her I immediately knew who she was.
Back when I worked at Suomi College I used to spend a lot of time on the phone talking to our customer service rep at the company that printed our quarterly alumni publication. We got along well on the phone. In fact, we were often pretty flirtatious with each other. She had a sexy voice, and I had a very specific idea in my mind of how she looked.
One day my boss had some business in the part of Wisconsin where the company was located, and in the interest of maintaining a positive relationship with them, he stopped in to visit and take a tour.
When he got back, my first question to him was "What does Gail look like?"
He described her as being short and stocky, with very short red hair.
This was disappointing, and wasn't at all the Gail I knew.
Ah well, that's the thing about illusions; they're often so easily shattered.
After the meeting headed back to the hotel to drop off our laptops, then regrouped to head out to dinner with the company we were here to meet with.
Dinner ended up being at the same barbecue place we had lunch at yesterday. I ate way too much and feel like I've gained ten pounds.
Yesterday evening I had dinner at a steakhouse with the NOC Director and an old friend of his. He used to work for the company we were here to meet with, so he's got a lot of old friends in the area.
When the waitress came around for our drink orders, the two of them asked what was on tap. The waitress listed everything off and they ordered their beers, and I found myself opening my mouth to say - as if after nearly eight years it was perfectly natural to do so - "I'll have a Guinness."
I had to stop myself, as internally I said, "You'll have nothing of the sort!" and ended up saying "I'll have a...coke?"
Not sure what was up with that. I can't say that I really wanted one - of course, I also can't say that I didn't* - but it just seemed to start to come out of me as if by force of habit. But seriously, after almost eight years, how could the habit have that much force?
When we got back to the hotel I decided to check out the pool. I'd thought about packing my swim trunks in case there was a pool, but had decided against it, but once we were here I decided that I should have, so on the way back to the hotel we stopped at a Big K so I could pick some up (I needed new ones anyway...well, I didn't need them, as I haven't gone swimming since like 2004, but even so, the ones I have at home are old and ratty), and so I headed to the pool upon our return.
I decided to try out the hot tub first, and within two minutes of settling in, some old guy who works for the hotel came in and informed me that the pool was closed because of reports of lightning.
So that was pretty weak.
I don't think I'll head down again tonight, as I don't want to have to pack wet shorts in with my clothes tomorrow.
Anyway, that's been my time in Kansas.
*Despite it all, if I were to one day encounter a genie who informed me that, through the power of wishing, I could either meet my perfect soulmate who would love me and make me eternally, blissfully happy, or I could have a beer, I'm pretty sure my response would be "What kind of beer?"